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Is British Rule in India Efficient ?

The British are accustomed to bestow high praise upon their Government in India and to urge its continuance on the ground of its great efficiency. 

The Indian people, contend that it is efficient only in serving British interests, only in carrying on the affairs of India for Britain’s benefit, and that it is not efficient, but woefully inefficient, in promoting the interests of India. 

Said the Hon. G. K. Gokhale, “One result is that the true well-being of the people is systematically subordinated to militarism, and to the service and the interests of the English mercantile classes.” 

In his recent book, “Modern India: Its Problems and their Solution” (p. 161 and 77), Dr. V. H. Rutherford, M. P. examines the character and results of British efficiency, and pronounces it “one of the chief causes of India’s poverty.” He declares that the British Government in India is efficient only on behalf of British interests, only in carrying on the government and managing the affairs of the country for the benefit of Great Britain. He cites the Government’s neglect of education of masses; neglect of sanitation and medical services in the villages; neglect to keep order; neglect of housing of the poor; neglect to provide agricultural banks; comparative neglect to improve and develop agriculture; neglect to foster Indian industries; neglect to protect British profiteers from capturing the tramways, electric lighting and other public services; and neglect to prevent the manipulation of Indian currency in the interests of London.” “British rule as it is carried on in India is the lowest and most immoral system of government in the world – the exploitation of one nation by another.”  

Some years ago, at the time of the Congo atrocities, an Irish author wrote: “The English people love liberty – for themselves. They hate all acts of injustices, except those which they themselves commit. They are such liberty-loving people, that they interfere in the Congo and cry, ‘Shame! To the Belgians. But they forget that their heels are on the neck of India.” 

In his book, “Secret History of the English Occupation of Egypt” (p. 47), Wilfrid Scawen Blunt gives some strong and important testimony regarding British rule in India as seen close at hand and under the most favorable light. He was an intimate personal friend of Lord Lytton, who at that time was the Viceroy of India. Mr. Blunt went there to make a study of the condition of things there. He found that British rule in India, instead of being a blessing, was working India’s ruin.  Of the British Imperial system in general he writes: 

“It is one of the evils of the English Imperial system that it cannot meddle anywhere among free people, even with quite innocent intentions, without in the end doing evil. Of India he writes: “I am disappointed with India, which seems just as ill governed as the rest of Asia, only with good intentions instead of bad ones or none at all. There is just the same heavy taxation, government by foreign officials, and waste of money, that one sees in Turkey. The result is the same, and I don’t see much difference between making the starving Hindoo pay for a cathedral at Calcutta and taxing Bulgarians for a palace on the Bosphorus….In India the ‘natives’ as they call them, are a race of slaves, frightened, unhappy, terribly thin. Though myself a good Conservative and member of the London Carlton Club, I own to being shocked at the bondage in which they are held, and my faith in British institutions and blessings of English rule has received a severe blow……if we go on developing the country at the present rate, the inhabitants will have, sooner or later, to resort to cannibalism, for there will be nothing but each other left to eat.” 

Rev. C. F. Andrews in his recent book, “India’s Claim for Independence,” says: “The British Empire today, with its Indian appendage – with India held in subjection by force – is also a monstrosity. It can produce only bitterness, ever-increasing bitterness, and estrangement, between India and England, tow people that ought to be friends.” 

To conclude: There is not a myth on the earth more baseless or more cruel than the claim put forth to the world that England is ruling great distant India well, or that she can by any possibility rule it well, or without constant blunders and injustices of the most serious and tragic nature. 

India in Bondage: Her Right to Freedom - By Rev. Jabez T. Sunderland p. 313-318).

“English rule,” wrote Sri Aurobindo, “. . . undermined and deprived of living strength all the pre-existing centres and instruments of Indian social life and by a sort of unperceived rodent process left it only a rotting shell without expansive power or any better defensive force than the force of inertia."

(source: The Foundations of Indian Culture  - By Sri Aurobindo, 1972, vol. 14, p. 4).




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Updated - October 28, 2008